Members of a Swedish gang appear to be using Spotify to launder money, according to a Swedish newspaper.
The publication Svenska Dagbladet reported that gang members convert money obtained from drug trafficking, robberies, fraud and assassination missions into Bitcoin, which they then use to buy fake streams from gang-related artists. They then collect the money that is paid to those streams later.
A source spoken to by Svenska Dagbladet said that Spotify is “very good for recruiting purposes” because gang members can use popular artists, especially in the Swedish gangster rap scene, as fronts for their activities. “If you’re a network and you want to attract kids and you’ve got a rapper doing it, you’ve done half the job,” the source said.
According to a French study, 3% of streams on services like Spotify are known to be fraudulent. The vast majority of those detected in 2021, 84.5%, came from hip-hop artists. However, hip-hop is the most popular genre in the French streaming market, and only 0.4% of the total hip-hop streams recorded in the country in 2021 were considered fraudulent.
Spotify declined to comment on the Svenska Dagbladet report and insisted they had “no evidence” that money laundering had taken place on the streaming platform.
In other Spotify news, Taylor Swift has made history by becoming the first female artist to reach 100 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Earlier this year, the streamer raised its subscription prices for the first time, affecting users in the UK and US.
In the UK, the Premium plan now costs £10.99 per month, down from the previous price of £9.99 per month. Some multi-user plans have also increased by £1 per month, with a Duo subscription now priced at £14.99 and a Family plan – which covers six people – now costing £17.99. So far, the only plan that hasn’t changed is the Spotify subscription for students, which still costs 5.99 euros per month.